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Why a Type A Personality and Fitness Don't Mix


My good friend Jeff Rochford is a key member of Fred's Team, a group of athletes and runners who compete in marathons and other events to raise money for cancer research, and is also one of the most well-known running coaches in New York City. Jeff inspires people of all ages and sizes to get serious about running, and for years he's been trying to convince me to run the NY Marathon. I do love watching the race (and cry every time), but I just don't think I'll ever have the stamina or commitment to make it happen.

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When Jeff reached out last week, he was okay with me passing on the big race, but he would not accept defeat when it came to running in general. With his guidance, I agreed to throw on my running shoes and give it another shot. In the past, I've found running to be too taxing on my body--I always end up with joint pain.

Jeff gave me a very light program to get started (Check it out below). The workouts are basic and short because the body needs to adapt. He explained that pain and injuries happen when we hit the pavement cold, run a couple of miles, and don't prep or stretch our bodies. We make the mistake of thinking running is only about our cardiovascular fitness, but it's much more than that. Jeff's advice was crucial. Too bad I didn't listen!

I threw on my old sneaks, skimmed over his outline, and decided to triple the distance and run as fast as I could. It felt excellent, until I found myself at the bottom of Battery Park, aching and hobbling, with no cab fare to get me home.

Why did this happen? Because, regrettably, I'm type A all the way. Jeff provided the right framework and made it clear that I needed to slowly get my body in gear, but with my headphones on and 45 kid-free minutes, I maxed out and end up sidelined. I've made this mistake so many times and continue to learn the hard way. If I would've done the light, recommended workout, I would've been able to run two more times this week. Instead, I did one rough run and have been icing my IT bands ever since.

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My advice: Embrace your type A personality, but know your limits and listen to the experts! When someone who has trained thousands of runners gives you a program, he is probably a better guide than your body when amped up to race to the new Daft Punk song.

Beginning Runner Plan

*Click on the chart to see a larger version.



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